“Listen to this.” I rattled the paper and read from the classified ads. “Wanted: Finance and Accounting manager for village of Culbertson.”
My long-suffering partner raised his eyebrows. “And?”
“Culbertson is only eleven miles from here. I’m qualified. Maybe I ought to apply.”
He walked the three steps that took him from the far side of the kitchen through the dining room to the living room where he stood in the six inches between the sofa/desk/café and TV to emphasize his point. “But you’re a full time writer. You don’t have time for another job.”
“Right?” He pushed. “Right?”
Right. By now, I’ve been a stay at home writer for two weeks. I’ve written a ton of words and started to apply myself to all those writerly things I’ve never had time for previously. I’m studying about audio books and indie publishing. Making marketing plans and reading about the industry. I’m even trying to give myself permission to read a lot of books.
For many reasons, we made the decision that now is the time to drastically downsize our lives so I can devote my energy to writing. To make this possible, we moved to a small town in Nebraska where we plan to stay for 591 days until my partner retires and we head south. I’m thrilled and excited and full of ideas and ambition.
And scared to death.
I’ve enjoyed the push and rush of a business career. I like dressing for the office, having an excuse to buy shoes, needing a closetful of skirts and dresses and having places to wear them. I work well with schedules and routine. I really, really love a fat paycheck.
I’ve lived in rural places for big chunks of my life and I’m not too put-out with our 100 year-old house with 800 square feet of living space. I can do without the dishwasher, the automatic garage door (and in fact, the garage) and couldn’t care less about the lack of fine dining and shopping malls.
I get to live the dream. Days full of writing and time to invest in doing it right.
The awful truth, though, is that I’m not making any money. We planned for this and expected it. I've got the budgets and spreadsheets to plot my way through this new venture. My business plan doesn’t even call for income for another several months, perhaps a year, probably more. Even then, it won’t be as much as my MBA earned me. Ever. It won’t be reliable and steady.
That’s how business and life works. You take risks and do your best. You weigh quality of life issues and set heart and money on the scales. Make a decision and jump with both feet.The key for me is put away guilt and doubts. Set aside the fear and step out into this new adventure with confidence and courage.
I folded the newspaper and reached for my computer. If I’m going to write the first draft of this novel in a month, I can’t waste time reading want ads.
We all give up something to be writers. We sacrifice time with our families, money for conferences, trade-offs with recreational and relaxing events. What do you give up and is it worth it? Does it take courage to pay the cost for your writing dream?